The Story of the Trees of the Water Temples

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There are many rumours and myths surrounding our Lord the Water God Lydien that people love to repeat to each other. This is hardly surprising for one of the founder gods of the country and one of its main patron. All of those stories are carefully listed in the royal archives, and, more often than not, we have access to the truth behind them. However, here is one that happened only two millennia ago and for which we still frustratingly do not have any confirmation. Nevertheless, it is used as the official explanation for the content of the gardens of the water temples.   This particular story is about a boy who was the son of a priest of our Lord and of a priest of the forging god. This does not usually happen, as priestly families will exclusively dedicate themselves to one of those two Gods rather than risk being torn apart by their rivalry. However, in this case greed took over long enough for a child to be born from this union before conflict broke out between the families.   As he got older, the question of which gods he should dedicate himself naturally came. Since no satisfactory answer could be reached, the families were forced to compromise and make him worship both Gods. As he grew older, the child also grew bolder and decided to continue this dual worship, no matter the doom omens spoken by everyone else.   This strange arrangement naturally caught the attention of the two Gods. Since gods are always mightily bored, They both decided it would be fun to see if They could sway the child to choose one of Them above the Other. The game started innocuously enough, with the priests of both Churches taking an interest in the child, teaching him and training him more than they would have done in other circumstances. However, the child was actually talented, and he thrived under such care, leading to the two Gods themselves to pay attention.   They both possessed Their high priests and through them interacted directly with the child. This is when the rumours intervene. It is said through the kingdom that our Lord would have taken the pain to teach him many elemental water magic, and, as he grew older, the intricacies of the workings of the numerous irrigation infrastructures that allow our country to thrive. That He somehow grew attached to the boy beyond the game with the forging god, and He would have taught him a great deal more things than his rival—although always being quite careful not to disclose any actual secret to someone whose loyalty was so questionable.   Meanwhile, the forging god would have done the opposite. While taking the child on as an apprentice-engineer, he would have kept him at arm's length and only shown enough interest to keep him hooked and wanting more. This neat psychological trick would have made the child take our Lord for granted and instead seek more of the forging god's approval. But at the forging god's suggestion, he would not have let his feeling be known to our Lord. Instead, he would have attempted to make Him believe the very opposite: that he was fully loyal to Him and almost ready to declare himself publicly, provided he was given the final push by our Lord. And that that final push should obviously be the revelation of some important secret, like, say, the key to the newest irrigation infrastructure of the kingdom.   Thankfully for everyone, our Lord will never get duped by a mere mortal, and even the people of our kingdom cannot imagine such a thing happen when they retell and transform this little story. Instead, according to what they say, our Lord would have laid a return trap for the stupid mortal, letting him believe he had succeeded in his deception and that he was ready to obtain what he wanted. Indeed, our Lord would have made the boy believe that he could set fire to the trees in the gardens of the water temples, thus destroying the anchor to the magic controlling the new irrigation infrastructure. Our Lord's loss of control over His own brand-new irrigation system would have been humiliating and proven to the forging god the boy's worth and loyalty.   The boy did not realise the new trees that had recently been planted in all water temples were not linked to the irrigation system but were instead a test of loyalty for him: when he set fire to the manchineel trees, their toxic sap transformed into toxic smoke that got into his eyes and lung, blinding him before slowly corroding his organ from the inside. He is reported to have died after a few days of agony and to not have been cried over by any of the Gods or of his family.
 

Opinion from the archives

 
Whether true or not, this story certainly illustrates how stupid it is for anyone to come in between the two gods' rivalry. And that, no matter how favoured and "cherished" a mortal might actually managed to become, the gods will never hesitate to sacrifice us in a heartbeat at the slightest offence—and so that doing more than a slight offence is beyond any meaning of the word stupid.




Cover image: Manchineel trees in the garden of a water temple by dbvirago on DepositPhotos

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Author's Notes

Inspiration for using manicheel trees comes from FirelDakuraito


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